History

History of Veerashiava Saints

Manteswamy_History
The Veerashiava Saints (devotees of Lord Shiva) of the 12th Century have a distinct place in the annals of Karnataka’s history as great social reformers. Their revolutionary ideas still have a profound influence on the people of the State. Basavanna, Allammaprabhu, Siddarama, Channabasavanna, Akkamahadevi are some of the noteworthy Sharanas. They lived in a town called ‘Kalyana’ and their preachings were in the form of Vachana Sahitya (poetic literature), which heralded both religious and literary revolution in the State.

Life of Manteswamy

Manteswamy_History

After the Shivasharanas of the ‘Kalyana’ town, Manteswamy carried forward the tradition of the Veerashaiva Saints. A path-breaking religious personality of the 15th Century, he created ‘Manteswamy Kavya’ (the poetry of Manteswamy). This poetry later became the poetry of Neelagararu (disciples of Manteswamy). It consisted of songs and stories, which describe the preachings and life of Manteswamy.

It is believed that Manteswamy was a reincarnation of Lord Parashiva. According to recorded history and belief held by his followers, Lord Shiva came in the guise of Manteswamy to Kalyana. He received hospitality from Basavanna and Neelamma, blessed the couple and travelled towards the South of Karnataka. Manteswamy took up this journey to spread his preachings to different parts of the State and eventually seek out a suitable place to perform his penance, which would become his last resting place. Before undertaking this journey, he took ‘Kalajñaña’ (a book of prophecies) from Basavanna and Neelamma, and accepted Rachappaji, Phalaradhya and Chennajamanni as his disciples. Later, Manteswamy chose Boppegoundanapura (B.G. Pura, Malavalli Taluq) as the place for performing his penance and attained salvation.

Propagation of the preachings of Manteswamy

Manteswamy_History

Manteswamy_History

Upon leaving Boppegoudanapura, Rachappaji travelled to Mysuru via Bannur. In the Vachanas called ‘Rachappaji Salugalu’ (Rachappaji’s verses), games played by him with the children of the garudigaru (illusionists) from Vijayanagara, his escaping of the sorcery performed by the illusionists and the miracles performed by him till he reached Kappadi are detailed. The verses speak about Rachappaji solving the poverty of Devaraja, the King of Mysuru, breaking off the marriage of Devaraja’s daughter and the story of how a coconut tree bent on its own to offer tender coconuts to Rachappaji.

Rachappaji and Chennajammanni left Mysuru and reached Kappadi through Chandagala of Edathore. They chose Kappadi as their area of service and engaged in welfare activities for the betterment of people in the surrounding areas for several years. They performed penance here on the banks of River Cauvery. The two shrines situated next to each other at Kappadi are that of Rachappaji and Chennajammanni.

Manteswamy Math at present

Manteswamy_History
Two young princes of Sakkarayapattana were chosen by Manteswamy to be the custodians of his sect and propagate his preechings and works towards Loka Kalyana. The descendant of the elder Sakkarayapattana Prince heads the Malavalli Manteswamy Matha and the descendant of the younger Sakkarayapattana Prince heads the Boppanagoudanapura Manteswamy Matha. Both the pontiffs hold the rights of Pooja at Sri Kappadi Kshetra and they perform the poojas and conduct the Jathra on alternate years on a rotation basis.